From Tokyo to Osaka: Which Way is the Best??

Which way is cheaper and faster to get to Osaka from Tokyo though Japan’s Golden Route??

Which way is cheaper and faster to get to Osaka from Tokyo though Japan’s Golden Route??

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Tokyo to Osaka is the most popular route for travelers to Japan, which is known as Japan’s Golden Route. There are several ways to get to Osaka from Tokyo such as airplane, bullet train, normal train and bus.

So, which transportation option is the best? Which is cheaper or faster?

Let me jump to the conclusion. Bus or Shinkansen is the best way for you to get from Tokyo to Osaka. Shinkansen is the fastest way and bus is the cheapest one, and both are easier for first time visitors to Japan to move.

On the other hand, airplane is available from Narita Airport and Haneda Airport. However, the Tokyo’s airports are a little inconvenient since they are not located in the center of Tokyo. That’s why airplane is not the best way.

Let’s compare Shinkansen and bus and how to get from Tokyo to Osaka!!

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Shinkansen or Bus?

Shinkansen (bullet trains)

Time: 2.5-3 hours

Cost: about 14,000JPY

<<You can book your Shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Osaka online!!>>


Time: 8–9 hours

Cost: 3,000–8,000JPY (Day service)/4,500–12,000JPY (Night service)

As you can see, Shinkansen is much faster but buses are the better option for budget. The price may vary depending on the class of seats. An overnight bus may be the better choice for those who wish to save accommodation expenses. To sleep comfortably, a superior seat is recommended. Another advantage of buses is the time for the last bus: about 1.5 hours later than train’s one.

So, it depends on what you value more, time or money during the trip.

You should choose Shinkansen if you have Japan Rail Pass

If you have Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass), Shinkansen must be the first choice. In the case you take a shinkansen to Osaka with Japan Rail Pass, HIKARI and KODAMA are available without any extra fee, but NOZOMI requires an extra fee.

<<Check out how to get and use Japan Rail Pass!!>>


From Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka Station


There are 3 major shinkansens whose names are Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama to Osaka. The fare of Nozomi with a reserved seat is JPY14,450 and a non-reserved seat is JPY13,620. It will take about 2.5 hours to get to Shin-Osaka Station.

For the tickets, a vending machine and a ticket office (called “Midori-no-madoguchi”) are available. Some vending machines have English menu. They are located next to ticket gates.

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First train: 6:00

Last train: 22:47

Location of ticket gates: blue areas on this map

Platform: platform No.14–19


Travelling by bus takes much longer (8–10 hours) but cheaper (JPY3,900–8,100.) But please note that the day service ends at 14:10 and they restart at 21:00 as the night service.

Tokyo Station Bus Terminalis located in Yaesu Exit (八重洲口.) Long distance bus tickets can be purchased at JR Expressway Bus at the bus terminal in Tokyo Station Yaesu Exit or online via bus company.

Please get off at Osaka Station JR Expressway Bus Terminal.

Day service: 6:40–14:10

Night service: 21:00–23:50

Location of bus terminal: Yaesu South Exit (upper right on this map)

Time Table

Book online!!


From Shinagawa Station to Shin-Osaka Station


Shinagawa Station is the other Shinkansen station in Tokyo and is the next stop to Tokyo Station of Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama shinkansens. The fare of Nozomi from Shinagawa Station is the same as that from Tokyo Station.

First train: 6:00

Last train: 22:54

Location of ticket gates: blue areas at the bottom of this map

Platform: platform No.23&24


From Shinjuku Station


JR Shinjuku Station is connected to BUSTA, the biggest bus terminal in Tokyo. Ticket counters and ticket vending machines are located on the 4th floor, which is the departure floor. The fare from Shinjuku BUSTA is not different from that from Tokyo Station.

Please get off at Osaka Station JR Expressway Bus Terminal.

Day service: 7:20–13:50

Night service: 21:40–23:50

Location of bus terminal: buses to Osaka generally depart from the D Area on the 4th floor

Time Table

What Should You Do in Osaka??

Osaka is the most popular gourmet city. Enjoy dining in Dotonbori is the top priority!! In Shinsaibashi, you may be a shopaholic with countless stores. Don’t miss a chance to visit Osaka Castle, either!!

▼Make your perfect itinerary in Kyoto&Osaka with this article▼

▼How to move to Kyoto??▼

▽You can book more useful and budget passes online!!▽

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I'm writing by my motto: helping travelers spend their limited time experiencing something priceless in Japan. My articles won't let you down! Living in Tokyo and traveling many popular and hidden sites all over Japan, I deliver well-selected and latest tourist information to you from the perspective of “100% Japanese local”. My specific interests are island hopping, eating countless bowls of ramen, watching anime and reading manga. Enjoy Japan Web Magazine for recommended food spots, hidden gems Japanese Otaku (geek) culture, and everything about Japan :)